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Our County: Norfolk

Old Buckenham

Old Buckenham

Norfolk, England

We have moved to a very beautiful part of England. Similar to home, it is mainly agricultural, mostly flat and full of wonderful people. We are enjoying the history of the area, along with being close to the seaside. Here are a few pictures from our adventures exploring our new home.

Fresh Mussels

Fresh Mussels (21 Dec, 2015)

Seal Watching

Seal Watching (21 Dec, 2015)

For a holiday adventure we headed to the seaside to try and spot some baby seal pups. We loved the trip, saw lots of pups, but it was honestly so very, very cold and wet. On the way home we saw a sign for fresh mussels on the side of the road, so we pulled off, walked down a dark alley where we found some mussels in a hutch, put some money in the box then headed home to try our first experience cooking and eating mussels. I must say, it was pretty delicious. It was about a 50% success rate with the children.

In our "Frontyard"

In our “Frontyard”

Tibenham Church

Tibenham Church

 

 

 

Across the lane from our house, is the Tibenham, All Saints Church. It is a beautiful 14th century church. It has 6 bells, which on occasion we are able to hear ringing through the windows of the house.

We love walking through the church grounds. As Addyline puts it, it is very peaceful and quiet.

 

 

 

 

 

All over England it is easy to find a walking path to get out in nature. We have a land ordinance map of our area and have enjoyed exploring some of the paths near our house. The pictures below are from our favorite path near our house.

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We also like to take advantage of living within a 40 minutes drive of the coast. The painted cliffs along the northwest coast of Norfolk is beautiful. Along the way to the cliffs is one of the kids favorite castle ruins, Castle Rising Castle.

Castle Rising Castle

Castle Rising Castle

Painted Cliffs

Painted Cliffs

Though we love the coast of northwest Norfolk, our favourite coastline is a little closer to home on the east/northeast coast. Here are a few pictures from our adventures a little closer to home. Though we have seen a lot in the year we have been here, we still have so much to explore!

Winterton on Sea

Winterton on Sea

Horsey

Horsey

Cromer

Cromer

Horsey

Horsey

 

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High School

1st Day of School-Sept 2016

1st Day of School-Sept 2016

High School! Can you believe it. Addyline started High School this year. In Britain, high school starts around the time a student is 11. It is for 5 years, students graduate from high school when they are 16. After which, they have to attend some form of formal education/training until they are 18. This could include, A-levels which is university prep, college which is something like a vocational school, or work experience/apprenticeships.

High School

High School

Addyline is having a wonderful opportunity being able to experience a different education system. The summer month brought much anticipation for both Addy and us parents. Since neither of us have ever experienced British high school, we had no way to help calm her fears. Unlike in the states, the students do not receive their schedule until the first day of school. She was really nervous about this. But as we had assured her, all worked out in the end.

All Grown Up

All Grown Up

So, what is a normal day/week like for Addyline? Well, first she has to fit in 13 different subjects. These 13 subjects are divided into a 2 week rotation, each day consisting of 5 classes. No day is the same during those two weeks. The 13 subjects are: Art, Beliefs and Values, Design Technology (this includes: engineering, manufacturing, construction, food, and fashion), English, Geography, History, ICT (information & communications technology, computing and business studies), Life Skills (British values, rule of law, liberty, mutual respect & tolerance, etc.), Maths, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Language (Addyline has chosen Spanish).

So many things to learn! Her first term went very well. Addyline enjoyed all of her subjects, especially Spanish. She has found a few things difficult, such as remembering how to spell words the British way, knowing the geography of the UK and a few other things that are specific to here (i.e. some maths terms are different in “British” than in “American” English). One thing we have loved is the teaching of history here. Addyline has learned and taught us so much about Medieval Norwich and that time period, castles, and more. And she would of course say she LOVES Spanish. Her teacher Mr. Stubbs speaks only in Spanish to them and they must speak only in Spanish to him. He doesn’t use worksheets or memorization to teach, rather he teaches through games, songs, and interactions. We told Addy, she might find Spanish classes back in the states not so fun.

One thing we have found difficult is the grading system. It is not on a letter scale A to F, but on a number scale. She doesn’t get a lot of things graded and returned, instead after each term we receive information on what she would score if she took the tests today that are given at the end of year 11. And also, information on where the teachers think she will score at the end of her high school experience (year 11). Not sure how helpful that is. We are looking forward to the next parents night to ask more questions.

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British Primary Schools

1st Day of British School

1st Day of British School

We have been asked by many friends what it is like for our children to attend British Schools, so I have decided to write two posts about it. First our experience with primary schools, second our experience with High School. After we have had more experience with Wauryn attending nursery school, I will post of that experience as well.

Starting January 2016 our four oldest children started attending Aslacton Primary School. Aslacton is a small country school. At the time we started, there were just over 60 students in the school in three classes. The classes were divided into Owl Class which consisted of reception, Year 1 & 2 (Berlynn-rec), Kestrel Class which consisted of Year 3 & 4 (Landyn-yr 3), and Eagle Class which consisted of 5 & 6 (Addy-yr 6 and Payton-yr 5). It has grown a little and now has four classes, divided a little differently but it is still very small and intimate, we love it!

Payton's Birthday Assembly

Payton’s Birthday Assembly

Things that make the school wonderful include great teacher to student ratio, outdoor learning, forest school, religious studies, unit study, individualized learning, and much more.

Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Learning

Mainly the younger classes use the outdoor learning area. There is a door from their classroom that opens onto the outdoor space. It is open during the children’s center learning, so they can choose where they want to learn, indoor or outdoor. This is a year round learning space–rain, sun or snow. Berlynn loves it here. (as does Wauryn when we drop Berlynn off/pick-up)

Unit Study-Architecture

Unit Study-Architecture

All the classes use a unit based study approach. We LOVE this. One term the boys’ unit was on WWII. This means their reading, writing, history, art, cooking and trips were all focused around WWII. They learned so much about WWII. What life was like here in Norfolk during the war, what types of planes were flown, and much more. But most importantly they learned to love history! Another example is in the picture above, Berlynn’s class studied architecture and city planning. During this unit they designed a village, but in order to do that they first went on walking trips of the small village the school is in to learn about different architecture, they learned about blueprints, city planning, permits, and much more. They then show-cased their design to the community.

Forrest School

Forest School (not the best picture of the forest, but all I have)

Forest School is where the children are encouraged to learn through nature. One example, is hey have learned about the different local birds and the sounds they make. They are encouraged to try and spot different birds are record them when they are out exploring. To facilitate forest school, the school has wooded areas throughout the grounds, there is even an area that has a small pond. Berlynn says, “I like forest school we find things for the fairy hut, mole hut and the heart one too. And there is bird food places, that is the best place to put bird food. It is so much fun exploring the forest!”

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Collective Worship-Leaver’s Assembly (at the C of E church just down the road from the school)

Religious studies is part of the national curriculum. The children have learned so many things about the major world religions and more about their own in the process. This is one of our favorite aspects of the children’s experience. In the states different religions and view points are taught, but usually not from a Christian view point and Christianity is left out of as much as possible. Here they teach all religions, even Christianity! Yeah! Aside from religious studies, they also have collective worship, a school prayer and a meal prayer (all prayers are non denominational, almost more like a poem). And no this is not a Church of England school. It is a what we would call a public school. Also at Christmas they say Merry (or Happy) Christmas, have Father Christmas visit and perform the Nativity. Love this!!

Wise Man Landyn

Wise Man Landyn

Unlike most schools in the states, here the children are taught more on an individual level. Perhaps, it is simply the school they go to and not all British schools, but we love how if a child is succeeding in something they give them more challenging work, if they are struggling the teachers give them more individual attention. There is on average 3 teachers/assistants in each class which allows for this individual attention. Another aspect of the school we like is all the hands on learning. From cooking, to gardening, to maths the children learn through interaction.

For you Harry Potter fans out there, we discovered how the school is set up is not something out of J.K . Rowling’s imagination, it is very similar to how schools are set up here. The school is divided into different houses which consist of students of all ages. In our school, the houses gather to have what is called Children’s Voice where they do games, have questions, discuss current events and talk about how school is going.

Another thing found in both the books and in the schools are prefects. Our school has a few students who are chosen as prefects. The children must submit a letter stating why they would like to be a prefect and what influence they would have on the school while in this role. Last year Addy was a prefect and this year Payton is one. The job of a prefect is to be a good example, encourage good behavior, and help with the atmosphere of the school. They award points to different classes when they see good actions and deeds and many other things that help encourage the students to do well. We love seeing the leadership roles that our children are able to take part of in the school.

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A catch up post

This past year has been crazy! We are now living in England and loving it. I am going to post a few pictures of our adventures here and in the future if I have time I will back post more details.

Our first outing in England we headed to Framlingham Castle. Around the same time (while we were still in TLF) the BX had Star Wars day, the kids loved it!

Framlingham Castle

Framlingham Castle

Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day

Our first holiday season was lots of fun. We went and saw the baby seals along the Norfolk coast. Enjoyed our traditional family nativity on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day had “battle of the farm house” with our new nerf guns. And brought in the new year by going to Cromer on New Year’s Day to see the fireworks off the pier! Very Fun!

Seal Watching-Bean Boats

Seal Watching-Bean Boats

Christmas Nativity

Christmas Nativity

Nerf War

Nerf War

New Year's Day

New Year’s Day

Fun things to see in England (all with Aunt Mary and Uncle Clint)

Painted Cliffs on Norfolk shores

Painted Cliffs on Norfolk shore

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Bath

Bath

Grandma and Papa Hibbs came to visit!

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Prime Meridian

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Castles in Wales

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National Slate Museum, Wales

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Mt. Snowdon, Wales

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A Hall on the way to Wales

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Papa and Wauryn at the Norwich Castle

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Landyn’s Baptism Day

A visit from Uncle Hyrum and Aunt Dani

London with Aunt Dani & Uncle Hyrum

London with Uncle Hyrum & Aunt Dani

 

A ride on the London Eye

A ride on the London Eye

Oxburg Hall

Oxburg Hall

New Buckenham

New Buckenham

Norfolk Coast

Norfolk Coast

 

 

 

Family Vacation: Albuquerque

IMGP0873We spent a couple of days in Albuquerque with Aunt Kenzi and Uncle Todd. The kids had a wonderful time playing with Kailey and Cope. One thing they came away with and decided that was so cool was Uncle Todd’s high tech tv and gaming system. The loved that he could talk to it from across the room and the system would do what he said….though a little creepy too.

We also took the opportunity to explore some of Albuquerque with our local guides.

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Hot Air Balloons

Petroglyph Monument

Petroglyph Monument

On top the mesa

On top the mesa

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Family Vacation: Westward Ho!

Ready To Travel

Ready To Travel

Waiting for Grandma's Biscuits

Waiting for Grandma’s Biscuits

The day after school was out, we started out on our family vacation. We headed south first and stopped at Grandma and Papa Hibbs’ farm. After dealing with tricare and the headache of getting Wauryn what he needed to treat his pneumonia, we enjoyed our short time with them before heading southwest towards New Mexico to visit Aunt Kenzi and Uncle Todd’s family. On the way to Albuquerque we stopped in Liberal Kansas and toured Dorthy’s house and walked on the yellow brick road. Berlynn loved seeing the “princess and her house;” Payton and Landyn loved the information on the tornadoes the most; Addyline loved learning as much as she could; and Wauryn just loved running up and down the yellow brick road.

Tin Man

Tin Man

Dorthy

Dorthy

 

Random Happenings

Family Picture

Family Picture

FHE with Dad via Skype

FHE with Dad via Skype

Silly Kiddos

Silly Kiddos

Sad Berlynner

Sad Berlynn

Fishing without a Tackle Box

Before the First Cast

Before the First Cast

We woke up early to go fishing down by Mahoney State Park. We were all excited, until we realized we forgot the tackle box.

Untangling

Untangling

So what do you do with no tackle box, you decided to fish anyway with the two lures you have on. What are the chances that they would both get stuck and lines broken on their first cast…well in our family apparently very likely. So Payton and Addy each made one cast and then we had to figure out what to do with the rest of our morning. After all we did come all this way!

We we decided to explore a little bit of Mahoney and then head over to the Wildlife Safari Park. DSCN3632DSCN3625At Mahoney, we enjoyed walking up the view tower and looking over the country side and river.  Almost the whole family made it to the top, but it was pretty windy making the tower shaky which resulted in Payton only making it part of the way up, though on his way down he found a robins’ nest with three little blue eggs in it.

At the Wildlife Park we enjoyed seeing elk and going on a fun walk up the wolf canyon. It was a little muddy and the trail was rather steep, but we made it out not too terribly covered in mud. So even though the day started out bleak, rainy and without a tackle box, we ended up having a good family adventure.DSCN3636 DSCN3634

Spring Music Concert

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Click on the picture to go to Landyn’s page a learn about his spring music concert.

Operation Read

Operation Read

Operation Read

Click on the picture to read about Addyline’s experience with Operation Read.